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What are coffee waves?


You have probably already heard the term "wave" in the coffee world, or more precisely the term "third wave". But what does it mean? Well, we could associate this word with a trend. Coffee has evolved a lot, and very quickly in the last decades. And its development has been done in "waves". There are three main waves at the time of writing this article. These waves are often the subject of questions, or even misunderstandings, so we thought that an article on this subject could enlighten you.

The 1st Wave

In the 1900's, coffee was considered above all as a tool to stay awake and to stimulate oneself. Instant coffee was born, providing a fast, cheap, accessible coffee, perfect in the crisis times that were the years 1910 to 1960.

The first wave was aptly named, as it was the first trend that propelled coffee into the home, turning it into an everyday food. This phenomenon is partly due to the soldiers, especially those of the Second World War. Indeed, at that time, coffee was rare in the United States and Canada because it was sent to the front to give warmth and courage to our soldiers. Back home after the war, the millions of combatants who loved this beverage brought back this habit.

The 1st wave represents the discovery of coffee, but also its integration in our daily life. It is then a mass consumption, where we drink coffee for its effects, and not for its qualities.

The 2nd wave

It was in the 1970s that the trend was reversed and the second wave appeared, notably with the arrival of large chains such as Starbucks. They transformed coffee consumption into a multi-sensory experience by offering better quality coffee and popularizing coffee-based "derivative" products, such as lattés and cappuccinos.

Espresso became popular in Europe, while here, filter coffee became popular. Taste and the notion of pleasure are associated with coffee. New forms of infusion and the origin of coffee are being questioned. It was also at this time that Arabica coffee took over from Robusta.

The 2nd wave brings coffee to the rank of pleasure and no longer a tool.

The 3rd wave

This is the one you probably know the most since we are living it now. Coffee now rivals the wines and teas of the world.

Coffee is considered an art, extraction techniques are perfected, the origin of the beans is checked, roasting is sublimated. We try to know everything about the product at the base: the origin, the terroir, the farms, the growers.

Coffee becomes an experience in itself, we want to discover coffee from all these angles. That's what the 3rd wave is all about.

To summarize

As you have seen, our coffee consumption habits have changed a lot over the years. The different waves have adapted to these habits, turning coffee from a simple tool to an object of art. We can then ask ourselves what the future holds for this sweet nectar:what do you think the 4th wave will be?

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